Fall Fest

OVERVIEW

Beginning in 2008 as an outreach to the community to celebrate Zion’s 125th anniversary, Augsburg Fall Fest has grown every year, bringing in people from all over Arkansas and from other states as far away as California.

The festival is a fund-raiser for the River Valley Christian Clinic in Dardanelle, Arkansas, and for the Augsburg Food Pantry.  The River Valley Christian Clinic offers free medical, dental, and eye services to people who can’t afford them.  The Augsburg Food Pantry, in continuous existence since 1995, provides food for 500-600 people each month.

JOIN US!

We invite everyone to come and join us on the second Saturday of October each year for a day of fun, Christian fellowship, good food and entertainment, and an opportunity to help many who are in dire need of food and medical treatment.

HISTORY OF FALL FEST

Since its beginning, the festival has featured German food (specially made brats served on homemade rolls, sauerkraut, hot German potato salad, and taste-tempting desserts). We also have arts and crafts booths, kids’ games of all kinds, bingo, a cake walk, a petting zoo, a silent auction, etc.

The first two years, we held the festival in November, but we learned that November proved to be too cold for an outdoor festival. We decided to change the date to the second Saturday in October. It has proved to be a very good time for us. The weather is generally perfect for a festival held out of doors.

A tradition that we have kept is having all of the volunteers gather in a circle, hold hands, and pray before the festival begins. In the ten years of the festival’s existence, we have had rain only once, and then it rained before the festival began but cleared up for the rest of the day.

Each year, after the festival, we have a wrap-up meeting. We discuss the problems that we encountered and share suggestions about how to make the festival better. As a result, the basic components of the festival have remained the same, but we have dropped things that have not worked and added new things as they were suggested.

We have a raffle for a half a grass-fed beef contributed by one of our members. We also have a cow patty drop. People buy a square for $10. A well-fed cow is turned loose in an enclosed area marked off in numbered squares. Folks gather around and attempt to cajole or persuade the cow to deposit its cow patty on the numbered square that they have purchased. The winner receives half of the money taken in from the sale of squares.

Our silent auction has grown by leaps and bounds each year. Not only do we have items donated by local businesses, but we also have lots of hand-crafted items given by members of our congregation as well as from friends of our church. Two members construct art items out of horseshoes, others donate crocheted or knitted items, some donate quilts, and another makes homemade bread and jam.

A few years ago, a Dutch-oven cooking demonstration was added. The couple who do this demonstration each year bake desserts of all kinds in the Dutch ovens and give samples to festival-goers.

We have also added a life-size mechanical cow, supplied by Arkansas Farm Bureau, which the kids can milk. Many children have no idea of where milk comes from and are fascinated by this exhibit. This year we added a climbing wall, which proved to be one of the most popular parts of the festival.

Since 2017 is the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, we added a Reformation Walk, which explained many of the events that led to the beginning of the Lutheran Church and then of the other Reformed churches.

After this year’s festival, we will have contributed over $84,000 to the River Valley Christian Clinic and an equal amount to the Augsburg Food Pantry. It is interesting that our festival is ten years old, and this year we made about ten times ($22,000) what we made on our first festival.

Although the festival is sponsored by our church and is held on the 40 acres that our church sits on, we would never be able to pull it off without the help of countless others, many of whom come from as far away as Iowa, Oklahoma, and California.